Minimalism and FIRE

Minimalism and FIRE

I just want no things.

 

This is a somewhat new feeling to me. I always have wanted something. Whether it be an extra candy bar when waiting in line at the store as a child, or a new toy as a way too old adult – I have always had pangs and cravings of desire. I never was one to spend all that much but I certainly could always find some dumb thing that I wanted at the time.

 

As I age I have come to despise possessions. The less things I can own the better. The problem lies in the fact that I slowly came to realize that I thought I could buy my way to happiness.

If only I had the gaming system my friend has, I will be happy.

If only I could buy this item from my favorite cultural group, I will be happy.

I was kidding myself. Nothing external will ever bring internal happiness for any lasting time. I think, like many do, that consumerism has become a massive danger to not only personal happiness but likely the planet as well. Three or four moments really leap out at me as I view my progression along this path. I am sure more will come along but these are the main signposts I can currently point at that lead me here. 

 

Lost Something?

The first time I realized that material possessions may not be the best route was when I tried to order my first ever apartment cleaning. Utilizing the new hip app Handy, I scheduled a cleaning for a Saturday afternoon while I was at work so I would be out of the way. Got the $80 introductory rate, showed her I wanted her to focus on communal areas, and off I went to work. Not twenty minutes after arriving at my desk, I get a phone call; ” we have a problem.” While bringing her supplies out to the street, she managed to lock not only herself, but my cat, outside of the apartment. At the time I lived on a legit highway, and she was telling me that she had to go to her next appointment.

I freaked out, telling her in no uncertain terms to not leave my cat and jumped back on the train. In my scattered rush to get back home, I proceeded to leave my gym bag on the train, stocked with $700- $1000 in electronics. Gone in one dumb moment. A Kindle, a Nintendo 3DS, random electronics, some of my favorite games, clothing, shoes. So many gadgets lost and yet I truly felt an ambivalence, if I couldn’t have them I certainly didn’t want to compound the situation by crying about them. My cat was completely fine, and that was all I remotely cared about. My attachment to a few dumb lost items, expensive as they may be, couldn’t come close to the feeling of relief that my best friend of years was safe and sound. This can also be a anecdote as to why one should do your own housework!

 

Oculus Failure

Last year around this time I was flying high. I was succeeding at work, being top dog every month for multiple quarters. The money was flowing well. It was around this time that I started to listen to my friends the Jones’s. “You deserve to enjoy that money,” they whispered. “Buy something for yourself, enjoy your youth.” To be clear, I always enjoy myself. I have a very good handle on my happiness levels, splurging is not going to get me there. However I certainly had some spare cash just sitting there, and the Oculus Rift had just been released. As a childhood nerd, virtual reality is my Mecca, I have been waiting to worship for my entire life. Now as an adult I can finally indulge!

I spent $2,100 on the electronics and a further $500 for a solid desk setup to organize everything. I played hours of virtual reality for the first few weeks, trying any and everything it had to offer. This was the early days so there were few costly games, and I was able to get free trials to many now paid apps due to being an early adopter. It is now almost one year later and I have had the goggles on maybe once in the last two months. It turns out, that the real world makes me happy enough. I do not need to close myself off in a mainly solo experience with huge goggles on my face. I do enjoy showing any friends that visit what the future will entail, but I rarely have the time or inclination to put them on myself. I had waited my entire life to play in Virtual Reality, spent an excessive amount of money, and am not measurably happier for it.

 

Stoicism

I recently read the highly recommended, Guide to the Good Life. This is a book that goes in depth about the ancient life philosophy of Stoicism and is a great primer for living a life in accordance with its principles.

Stoicism is a mental model for viewing the world, and the tenets allow you to live a life that is most in accordance with a peaceful one. I never was one to take random life rules as wrote, but when I found how much similarity there was with this mindset and my own, I was hooked. By nature, stoicism and minimalism go hand in hand, and many of the principles of the FIRE movement (self sufficiency, DIY skills, planning for the negative)are paramount as well.

While I grew up Roman Catholic, it never really stuck. I went to church for years with family, but my personal studies and exploration led me to too many logical inconsistencies to live my life like. After hearing about this book and reading much of the source material, I can see that this is a much better fit mentally. This is a philosophy that I can foresee a huge number of people will slowly embrace. They may not label themselves as a stoic rather than whatever religion they might be, but the principles will convert many due to their simple and effective message.

 

Financial Tracking

This is my latest and favoritest. While this may be super simple to some people, I didn’t track anything until this past year. About 5 months ago I started to get everything together and finally have a strong semblance of my financials and where they stand. While I used to religiously check Mint and Personal Capital, the spending was not being understood as much as it should. I could see the money going, but abstract categories that were auto tracked just was not doing it. I needed to personally sit down and do all the numbers by hand. The final stage of manually inputting really throws things into a stark perspective – do I really place enough value in this purchase for me to commit a whole line item to it? This is a silly question, but I find that this check alone causes me to accumulate so much less garbage – not for being cheap, but on a new strange value/effort scale that prides itself on less things and transactions.

 

So while I have an Amazon wish list still, it’s mostly junk. I could splurge and add more peripherals to my computer or buy more frivolous hangout clothing, but I don’t. I really just do not need any more things. Having food, clothes, and shelter – I want to learn to be happier with less. Not only is that the state of things for a majority of the world, but I also just believe that is a path to true happiness. I wish all of you the best luck in your own personal development journey, and if you are having a rough go of it, maybe try instituting some minimalism. It may change your life like it did mine !

FIRE Too Soon

Learning about the Viability of Fire Too Early

And sprinting towards an unknown future

 

I find myself fortunate in that I have the freedom to constantly change my mind how I feel about my life and my relationship with work and money. While not financially independent yet, my savings allows me to have some level of FU mentality in that at this level of lifestyle I can be more picky about how I will go about achieving the next few slices of independence. I don’t have to take any deadbeat work that would make me saw my arm off in boredom.

 

I was taught about FIRE through a cousin of mine who showed me a bunch of great books within a year or two of graduating college. I was already the broke kid at a rich school, there wasn’t much I could take away at that point. Prior to that I really had never thought about money all that much. I am thankful that everything was provided for me to be sure, but that does remove some of the hustle I could have had. Not that I had everything I ever asked for – I still worked plenty, but I just never wanted anything of much value. I suck at math and I was generally uninterested in thinking about the future, so I slowly ramped up in the community till I have now been tracking my financials religiously for 4 months.

It sucks.

 

Learning about FIRE too early is deadly. You will see people asking questions along the lines of – ” if I stay in my dead end job and save 70% of gross for the next 13 years with a 2% yearly raise I will be FIRE at 48!”

Kill me.

Life is long and weird shit happens. Who in their right mind thinks this way? I don’t consider myself a particularly flighty person by any sense of the word but still how can you pretend to plan out the next year effectively much less the next ten? I do not know if I want to be in the same country next year. I don’t know if I want to be doing the same task for the next 5 or 6. I have never had a single step in my life where things went according to plan, so why would saving and working fall in line all of a sudden?

 

If I had learned about this stuff even earlier I would be tearing my hair out counting down the minutes of my life from as young as 21. I was a late bloomer to many things in life and I think that turned out to be a blessing. Having an over emphasis on financial focus and retiring would effect the psyche and choices of one so young. Oh prefer instead to slowly learn as I did, that way I can appreciate how lucky I am to have experienced all sides of the coin. I have spent. I have saved. I have bought frivolous expenses. I have lived on ramen. Having been at each level I think places me on more even footing when looking and viewing the world.

 

Now obviously it doesn’t suck entirely – I am being facetious. I am purely focusing on the over emphasis that your mind will place on this stuff once your plan has crystallized in mind. That will unfortunately always invariably happen as once you set up the financial plan – there is frankly not much to do but sit and wait. The way people write online you’d think they trudge back and forth slowly staring at the numbers tick by. I can’t do that. I live in New York city and I know way too many people that have died before 35. I work hard for both my future and my current self. So while I focus on the big wins – most would be appalled at the lavishness of some aspects of my life.

 

Hoarding your money and watching your life on a spreadsheet is bad. Live it instead. Set it, forget it, and just live within your mental means. Automated investing is all that is needed. If you set up your automation correctly and then learn to appreciate all the less expensive things in life you will never want for anything.

FIRE: Paper vs Digital Reading?

FIRE: Paper vs Digital Reading?

My first and greatest love in life has always been reading a good book. Starting from a young age I would delve deep into a novel for hours at a time, often disregarding those around me to an extreme level. My parents and grandparents indulged me to no small extent and I steadily read my worries away for my entire childhood. I had little to no friends due to this up until middle school, at which point I sacrificed some small amount of reading time for video gaming, which allowed me to relate to other kids much more easily.

My library continued to grow as I never even considered selling or giving a book away. Each book had a piece of my soul, they are actually fragments of my memory. I can look at each and vividly I will have moments leap back at me from years past.

 

E-Books

I currently own a few different e-books, notably the Kindle Paperwhite as well as the base model Kindle Fire. I have in the past used the early Nexus 7 tablets for a variety of purposes. I also have access to an iPad with specialized software through my girlfriends work, as well as a number of different cell phones all with books on them. I will say that I bring my Kindle Fire absolutely everywhere I go, even when I am reading a paper book or two at the time. Suffice to say that I have had my fair share of these devices.

 

Pros

Future is Now

This is a daily carry future item. Having grown up with people in science fiction movies using holographic displays and tablets, this is one of our current tangible connections to that future realm. Being able to walk around with a tablet with internet access and AI voice assist is as futuristic as you are going to get for an extremely cheap price point. This is a reminder that we are at an inflection point in history in some regards, a tangible link. Most other futuristic tech is going to be large ticket items, gene therapy, space stations, photon torpedo’s. Currently you can buy a Kindle for $35 – they are selling them in six packs as an incentive these days. At that price point, they become practically  disposable and the cost/risk assessment is pretty easy. Most hardcover new releases are $25+ and have limited use by comparison.

 

Capacity

One of the most key factors in this debate is the portability of an entire library of books on one device. This is fantastic for those situations where you finish one book and pick the next one right up. I learned first-hand the danger of this in conjunction with long series books. In 2015 I was gifted the entire Wheel of Time series and got stuck in a 9 month period where that was all I read. Any spare moment I had was spent plowing through thousands of pages, and when I finished one, the Kindle rolled me right to the front door of the subsequent one. I got into such a routine that it became difficult to tear myself away to any other book!

 

Free Books

For those of us concerned with Financial efficiency, this is a huge boost. I continually stumble upon great books that are just randomly free when you download them on Amazon. Whether it is a promotion the author or publisher is running or some kindle policy, in the last month alone I have read The One Thing and 4 Minute Marketing Plan completely free without really understanding why.

 

Freedom of Information

Sharing books on a mass scale is so much easier with digital files. Now everyone will have their own opinions on legality and the freedom of information, I am not going to be the one to tell anyone what is right. I know many friends that pool their resources and share a massive .mobi file Google Drive library. Torrents abound to give you most any book you may be looking for, so the cost of reading can end up dropping massively depending on the individual.

 

Digital Reading Tools

When using one of these e-readers, you can significantly technologically upgrade your reading style within the various menus and sub menus. If you find a difficult or foreign word, you can easily highlight and search on Google with just a few finger taps, unlike paper in which you would have a more complex task ahead. you can choose to read in portrait mode, or with a night shade light on. I have no use for complex note taking functionality, so most of this utility is lost on me. These type of improvements tend to make it more complex to do the simple things like add a bookmark or go to the table of contents for example.

 

Versatility and Utility

Being able to multi task is the key winner here. Having a classic book on Stoicism in hand, and then remembering you need to buy a ticket for tonight’s concert, doesn’t even require putting down the book anymore. With a few taps this book turns into a personal journal, or a movie camera, or a gaming platform. The amount of flexibility this provides is worth the cost of any of these gadgets alone. Having a notebook on hand that never needs a pen, or a calculator, or a Skype session. All too useful.  Much of this utility is likely a duplication of the phone everyone carries that would be equally useful for any of these tasks, so your mileage may vary.

 

Cons

Layout/Editing

I have had some pretty varied experiences in regards to the layout and editing of these digital books. When I read the aforementioned Wheel Of Time series, every page would have about 20 random spaces added in the middle of words causing poor flow and readability. I also feel that I see a much higher number of spelling errors possibly due to shoddy conversion work. This is something that will vary from publisher to publisher but can be pretty annoying and made me not enjoy the book as much.

 

 

Size

Depending on your common reading habits this may not pertain to you. I generally used to read mass market paperbacks found in the used pile at a book store. Small enough that I used to carry a book in my back pocket pretty much everywhere I went. With that being the case, every e-reader is generally larger than that. If you are reading the newest hardcover novels on the regular than this point will be null. You will save ample weight by switching to a sleek digital book than lugging around thickly bound tomes.

 

Resolution

The act of reading on a screen is dramatically different from reading on old fashioned paper. The way that reading on a computer tires your eyes is continued with most any of these devices as well. The main fix is to look into readers like the Paperwhite, which has a look similar to old graphing calculators- less like a screen and more like an actual print book. The paperwhite does have limited functionality when compared with an iPad for example but it is one of the best midway choices.

 

Over -Versatility?

These tablets and readers have various levels of utility to be sure, but often times I have found that it can be more than whats needed. Having a book to read for a nice quiet mental relaxation period is very easily disrupted by the flashiness of the Angry Birds notifications that get pushed to you if you fat-finger the wrong button. I often find that I load my Kindle Fire up with too much media that it does not even have space for more books. Having a flashing “Low Memory” warning kind of rousts you from the reading zone.

 

FIRE scale 7.5

Paper

What really needs to be said about the classic paper tome. People generally do not believe me when I talk about how many books I own or have read. It helps that a lot of them were childhood pulp garbage! I grew up on paper books and to this day have a book near me almost every moment of the day. Whether they are serving as current reading material, decoration, paper weight, or reminder – paperback books are an important cornerstone of what makes me who I am. I am not averse to change so I have tried E-readers in depth, but it is difficult to not harbor childhood biases. As long as we are aware of them and compensate accordingly, the results of this arbitrary contest should prove official.

 

Pros

Classic

Paper books are timeless. The original method has just been the bedrock of human learning and development for so long that it is extremely difficult to change your life to entirely digital. Classic always has more authenticity and right-ness to it, and reading in the same method as like scholars of years gone by is no different.

 

Cheap

Thanks to the old fashioned distribution model surrounding books, digital copies are generally going to cost more than buying a used paperback. Most books are 1 penny on Amazon with a $4 delivery fee. Digital copies will end up costing $5-10 for what amounts to a file transfer of non tangible goods. In a sane world, I would like to actually receive a discount for saving paper and not wasting printing costs, but we are not there yet.

 

Giftastic

I generally dislike giving gifts. Giving or receiving a book is a bit different in my mind though as it has a depth to it if done with thought. Someone who knows you is gauging that you may be interested in the prose, and trust you to hand you the copy that they enjoyed so much. With digital it is extremely rare for someone to lend out books in such a manner, the act of sharing is not as heartfelt in my experience as the physical copy was never lost to the original owner.

 

Smell

If you grew up a reader, the smell of being deep between the pages is one that is a cornerstone of our entire sense of childhood and personal identity. I grew up with my nose buried in a book. It’s impossible for me not to love the smell of fresh or old ink. Not hard to imagine, but a Kindle does not tend to have a smell, nor should it!

 

Expendable

This is an important thing to note in line with my Stoic roots. Losing a paperback is definitely saddening and getting them dirty or messed up is never fun. The difference between losing one book and your whole e-reader is a drastic one to say the least. While some are inexpensive, iPads easily run $400 plus just for the sake of branding and having the ecosystem. Instead of being sad you lost your lucky bookmark, you are instead trying to remotely lock and wipe your personal data from a misplaced reader. The amount of times I have lost my pocket sized novel for NYC bar nights are innumerable, I would not be so flippant were they a more substantive item.

 

Cons

Space

I live in 380 square feet with my girlfriend and two cats. Both myself and my companion love books and have thousands in our personal libraries. Even if it is our most common decoration we still only have a few hundred on display at any one time. The rest are packed in boxes in dry spaces in family attics as frankly, there just is no space! NYC living is not kosher with having a massive library, a digital reader allows you to accomplish everything without using that precious space. Future plans include a full library and reading room, so they are not a total waste, just not in the cards for right now.

 

Environmentalism

Trees. My ethical and moral compass becomes louder as I age. I am not yet at the tree hugging phase, but in the future I can see this becoming a problem as we continue to over indulge in the free resources of our planet.

 

FIRE scale

8

Winner

Impossible to say. I am too biased and I can admit that. I will say that I was a long time holdout but decided to try E-readers and currently use both. I carry one paperback and my digital with me in my gym bag. The weight is negligible and I do use the reader for writing notes at times as well. Being able to choose which type of viewing my eyes will be dealing with is much better than forcing it, and I really do enjoy them both and will have both for the rest of my life likely.

 

Virtual Reality and the Future of Financial Independence

Virtual Reality and the Future of Financial Independence

When I was growing up I never really asked for much. I was a simple and relatively mute child who wanted nothing more than to read books and be left alone. Friends were constantly getting the newest and best video game systems each year for Christmas or Birthdays, I always got them a few years later and never minded much. I eventually grew to become a heavy gamer, making money on the side in small tournaments mainly using hand me down computers or other friends consoles. This is all well and good until I heard that Virtual Reality was being pushed out in 2016 for early adopters either with the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. This year I decided to fulfill my childhood wish of buying my very own Gaming PC for the very first time and be one of the first to regularly explore the possibilities of the new medium.

I went a bit overboard. For someone on the path to Financial Independence with a 50% + savings rate – I will survive. I purchased a Oculus Bundle pack from Best Buy and went with a Middle Range package for about $2,200. This did not include monitors which I needed for my work a home setup, so after grabbing a pair of the cheapest monitors and a mount – virtual reality cost about $2,500 to get into it. There are for sure cheaper options out there such as the Cardboard or the Gear, but I had been planning to see how I could possibly research business ideas in the realm, and I needed a Desktop as a Media Center anyway, so I bit the bullet on my first ever computer. I try not to hate on myself too much, as the VR aspect was really only $600. I just wanted a strong computer for streaming movies and music to last me the next 5 years anyway.

https://www3.oculus.com/en-us/oculus-ready-pcs/

Virtual Reality is crazy. There really is no words that do it justice due to the sheer immersiveness. It is one of those things that everyone will judge and call stupid until it’s on their face for about 5 seconds. I have seen peoples feelings on the tech and its use change within moments of trying it. The depth is truly fantastic. The number of experiences and everything is somewhat limited now, the number of people that currently are on these devices is limited so the larger budget stuff is yet to come. However you can see people hacking away, creating entire world spaces that will soon become the next most popular thing.

While this could be considered an extreme splurge it can also be considered  huge savings feature. With the Oculus, you could easily stave off desires of wanting to spend money on an expensive Parisian vacation. Earlier this morning I woke up in my bed in NYC, put on my goggles and was having a face to face conversation with the avatar of a friend that lives in Philadelphia. The cartoonish avatars will soon give way to photorealistic ones, but that is not a huge focus as we sit and converse on a rooftop cafe with the most perfect view of the Eiffel Tower you could imagine. Once that got boring we switched the scenery over to a plush mid-century red velvet movie theater and streamed some of our latest Overwatch matches on a 40 foot screen while sitting next to each other talking. Their is starting to become less and less of a need for people to be in the same physical location, we can hang out extremely well and keep our friendship thriving across a number of digital media. The amount of possibilities seems endless when you consider that this is just the start.

Many of the games are low budget and kitschy for a silly price – anywhere from $10 to $40 these days. I have not wasted my money with too many full budget games as they seem to be similar to iPhone games, all flash and no substance. As the platform matures and the market grows, real game studios will spend real money and rapid advancement will take place. For now, I aim at the most replayable games or the free and inexpensive experience and social apps. Many things are offered at no charge purely to get people using the product, and the social networks are so interesting and fun to show new users. Sending someone into a random room filled with the avatars of 20 VR nerds dispersed throughout the world is amazing for conversation.

One of the most amazing things that always comes to my mind is the way V changes your perspective. We are so used to dealing with digital media on a flat panel screen, life is very predictable in that regard. VR has no rules in that nature, and developers are running wild with it. There are mini movie scenes where you have rolling perspective tunneling through the scene, a tinker toy story where you fly above and through buildings by turning your head and body. There is no parallel to the way that we currently live, we do not process information this way yet. It is going to be amazing to see what sort of effect this technology has on our culture and society.

Something that has yet to come out yet is some sort of VR Financial tools. I am sure the early stage nature of it has security gaps a mile wide, but I cannot wait to see what comes out. Imagine Mint or Personal Capital in Virtual Reality? Between Zillow and Google Street View, we should be able to get digital renders of our own homes and do remodel planning with 3d wireframing. We could see our money in literal piles of whatever currency we like, be that cash or diamonds or a pool of gold coins! Being able to physically travel through your own financial  world will again give us entirely new perspectives on our money. The boat of your wealth may need some additional shoring up of risk-less assets given current market conditions, but you wouldn’t have known till the data was visualized in these new ways.

There are some cons to the current system, things aren’t fully there yet. The original iPod was not the be all and end all, nor will be the 2016 Oculus or Vive. They do set a great platform that people can work on though. The text resolution when reading through the goggles will make your eyeballs sizzle out of your head, something that will take time and tech. Wireless and weightless headsets will end up being as ubiquitous and likely combined with sunglasses. What looks like a frivolous electronic gizmo this year, will play a huge part in our lives in just a few years. Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the benefits to the tech are too numerous. I wanted to get ahead of the tech curve and be in the know as early as possible about this one, hopefully to figure out a way to share my love of the future with the world!

 

Long Term Goals

Long Term Goal Planning

I love the freedom that this mindset gives. My monthly outlays are so low that I could do most any job and still easily support my standard of living. Half if not more of every dollar I earn currently goes towards savings and investments and I hope to continue to grow that savings rate further.

Currently I live in New York City with my girlfriend and two cats. We work six days a week and love most every minute of it. I am in a highly competitive tech sales field and she works double duty in books and fitness. We have kept a pretty heavy pacing of work over the past two years and do not see an end in sight, but I know change is always coming. I often think about how people at the New Years are planning the next year. In reality we already know what that is generally going to look like very often because it is extremely close! We have planned vacations or dates, life events are planned months in advance. We don’t have time to take a long view because it creeps up on you very quickly.

I would prefer to take the New Year to reassess my five year plan out to 2022, and I invite you to do the same. I have no idea the next steps along the path of my road to success however I think it is prudent to plan the end goal to have at least something to aim at. I do not think it best to pin ourselves down or be too hard on ourselves about our goals, because we could die any day and enjoying life should be a major priority. Having goals and drive however, will help you enjoy life as well – experiencing the feelings of effort, stress, and accomplishment.

It will be interesting to see how this piece looks in retrospect, and how they evolve in the future. 

 

Poverty Level FI by 34

I currently operate from a mindset of freedom, but by mid 30’s I expect to at least be at the poverty line in regards to the 3-4% rule. I do not plan to sit back and retire early, but I will feel more comfortable shifting to riskier and more interesting ventures at that time. My girlfriend’s current debt level of $100,000 in student loans makes this a bit more difficult, but we play Life on hard mode and don’t worry about complaining. I do not expect to stop at this point but I may be able to relax a little bit more mentally.

Timeline: 34 – 35 years old

 

Married with Kids

I grew up with a very small immediate family. Father is an only child and my mother’s only brother is a childfree child himself. I generally prefer not having a typical large family as my experience is that they tend to get in the way and take up time. At this stage of my life I generally cannot afford to give my time up to anyone, I barely have time for myself to be frank. However some day in the distant future I fully expect to settle down and want to teach mini versions of myself how to survive and thrive even better than I have. I love animals and for now I can only handle dealing with cats, but I do believe sane and educated people have a responsibility to propagate purely to combat the teeming masses of mouth breathers born daily.

Timeline: 29-32 years old

 

NYC Home Base

NYC is my home and it is difficult to explain the hold it has over me. I generally am more of an outdoorsy person that hates crowds and other people. Something about New York though, you can just feed off the energy that is everywhere in the city. I can’t imagine leaving for good and I expect to be here for a few more years at least before the next move. Having my family based in the metro region as well as my current real estate investments and contacts makes it likely I should plan for a base of operations in the most cost effective manner for the coming years. This will likely occur gradually as I build up my rental portfolio as I do not see value in the SFH market in the tri-state currently. Spreading my rentals across a few towns in the region will help for variety as well as diversification to some degree. Its very difficult to tell what is going to be nice with some of the systemic problems, and extremely difficult to afford the desirable places in this wealth accumulation phase. 

Timeline: 33-35 years old

 

Masters Degree Abroad

One of my major goals and reasons for aiming at financial independence is my desire to pursue education abroad. I was unfortunately a terrible student in college and was not eligible for any Study Abroad programs. I wasn’t studying at home so why would they let me study abroad eh? My extended family is all mainly still situated in Bavaria in southern Germany, and every time I visit I fall more in love. I did my undergrad degree in a business discipline because I wanted to have a secure future, it would feel the height of luxury if I were able to go back and study Enlightenment era philosophy or European Public Policy purely to satisfy my own interests. Reading and taking life easy in the farmlands of Bavaria would be blissful and also extremely cost effective. In comparison to US degrees, Europe costs pennies on the dollar. My girlfriend feels the same way so while it may be crazy its not impossible. This is a more out there goal to be sure, and requires a good degree of hustle on my part to get to a comfortable financial position by then.

Timeline: 35-38 years old

 

Bi-Coastal

I do not like to travel too much so this may be a bit of a stretch but I hope to eventually set up some measure of home base in the nicest beach city I can afford. Growing up, the Jersey shore is the main hotspot for clean and enjoyable beaches within some realm of accessibility of Manhattan, but I am not the biggest fan.  There is not much appealing on the East Coast that I’d be interested in, so it is mainly looking like a California future is ahead. I am often told I would fit in well out west with my mannerisms and mentality, so in my near future I expect to start visiting the major spots on my list to be able to accurately plan further.

Timeline: 35 – 40 years old

 

Volunteering with Animals

Another main reason why one should focus on Financial Independence is the freedom to give back to the community and country that has allowed us to attain this level of success. I have spent much of my life volunteering with Animal Welfare organizations and fully expect to throw myself deeper in as I get older. Unfortunately I need to focus on becoming financially stable now, so this will have to wait, but I expect to at least go back to regular volunteering if not a more in depth community organizing role. I have been around presidents of these organizations to the extent that I can feasibly see myself not wanting the headache of running one, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

Timeline: 35 – 40 years old

 

Digital Marketing

I have no real belief in the myth of passive income. I read a classic book when I was younger that coined the term TANSTAAFL.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

If you think there is then you are dreaming. So my goal is not to pursue the mythical sit back and do nothing money, but to aim at a more lifestyle friendly business. I have been in Marketing and Sales for almost a decade at this point and I want to develop my capacity to work remotely. It is no secret that half of the draw for digital marketing and internet related jobs is the work from anywhere on your computer setup. In the future I see us heading towards it would be embarrassing to not have a more in depth hand and presence in the Internet. There is so much opportunity online, slowly but surely I will continue my education and testing to break in.

Timeline: Present to Perpetuity

 

Real Estate

I enjoy physical labor. Limited amounts to be sure. Having a renovation project or a home to get some sweat equity in excites me. I really enjoy grabbing a beer, some music, and painting and sanding till two in the morning. I do not see myself purchasing my own primary residence any time soon but I do expect to continue to comb the market for good deals on small multi-family homes with my business partners. There is so many future synergies with anything regarding real estate, I plan to buy and hold as many strong cash flow units as I can until I can create a property management and development company to take care of the grunt work. The tax benefits are also amazing as well and I am lucky to have found similar minded partners to pursue these goals with. Full dream would be to end up with a few higher cash flowing ones possibly trading up into small apartment buildings. Ideally at least one multi family on the cliffs overlooking Manhattan – the possibility for multi-generation style housing with a view sounds like a win to me.

Timeline: Present – 45 years old

 

Conquer

It’s messed up but this is what New York does to you. It’s not FIRE. You can’t even really think like that in the atmosphere. It’s designed to actively attack such thoughts about savings and fiscal security. Every day I wade through tourists at Times and Herald square that are frivolously spending money left and right. The whole city is about making and spending money. Now while I am not one for consumerism at all, I certainly do have the desire to just be able to fully enjoy everything the city has to offer. Food, shows, apartments, it is impossible to live in this city and not have big goals. This feeling is addictive and incredibly wasteful – generally not my style. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the best things in life at least to a moderate degree? Do we not work hard enough to deserve them? I will reassess as time goes but I think that it gives life a very strong edge – being out hunting. I could see myself dying from boredom if I retired at 35. 

Timeline: Always

 

The goal is very simple, freedom, it just requires some progress from my initial starting point. I am not one of those trying to retire early and do nothing from my early thirties on. Mainly I cannot abide the thought of being 40+ years old and not fully in control of how I spend my time. Where people initially used to focus on becoming C Suite execs or middle management, I would instead prefer to focus on location independence and minor entrepreneurial efforts. I never had a penchant for people management, and in my experience I have seen pay be distorted towards revenue driving roles and not management.

I have not found true enjoyment in my job in business yet, but I have found a skillset in Sales that will take me there – there is a way to make money and enjoy work at the same time. I believe the Tech Sales industry is going to explode in the near future even further than it has today. If I continue to work on my abilities and with market maturation I  hope to be able to sell the technology that furthers mankind – whether that be micro-satellite bandwidth or the first Robot Personal Assistant. I would love to be able to participate in a product or field where I truly feel that I am helping further our species and its growth.

What about you? Have you set your goals for 2022?